Monday, May 10, 2010

And so for the last film review from Hot Docs. I thoroughly enjoyed the Festival this year, even I guess what I missed was even better. Of the 10 audience award winners this year, I had seen none of them!

Neighbors is a lovely, lush film by a former NFB filmmaker. Ostensibly, it's about touring through the old mansions of a district known as Garden City in Cairo. But those opulent, now abandoned, mansions are just a backdrop for the interesting stories of the former occupants, who reminisce about the past. Days when the upper class lived in luxury in their privileged quarter. Days when their views weren't obstructed by the ugly embassy buildings of US and Canada. Days before security measures for the US Embassy restricted access and destroyed their businesses in the district. Days when people of different religions mixed amicably.

I loved the leftist-leaning professor who took us on a tour through his immense library. He pointed to a picture of Nasser and said 'I liked Nasser, even though he threw me in prison several times'. The film gave me a bit more appreciation for the nuances of Eyptian history since the revolution and piqued my curiosity to learn much more. This was a beautiful, graceful film and I would definitely recommend it.

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